The verb in Spanish changes when it is conjugated. In English, the verb remains substantially the same.
Because of this, English is a relatively simple language to learn to speak, albeit in a primitive sort of way.
Primitive, or "pidgin", English is spoken widely throughout the world because, once a verb is learned,
it can be easily conjugated with little or no modification. However, writing and reading English is a different matter altogether!
Let's look at an example:
|run||correr [to run]|
|I run||Yo corro|
|You run||Tú corres|
|He runs||Él corre|
|She Runs||Ella corre|
|We run||Nosotros corremos|
|They run||Ellos corren [m]|
|They run||Ellas corren [f]|
Horrors!, you say. How could anyone ever learn the language?! You were probably thinking the very same thing before you picked up this book, and now....well, let's take a look:
In the above example, you will see that we have modified the verb ending. The verb "correr" ends in ...er, and all verbs with that ending would be modified (conjugated) the very same way.
In Spanish there are only three different verb endings.
[In English there are dozens!]
Let's extract a verb from one of the Rules we've learned. In Chapter Three we learned that English words ending in ....ate are translated to Spanish by substituting with.... ar.
Let's try Elevate.
We know that, in Spanish, it's Elevar. [to Elevate]
To conjugate this verb in Spanish, we will modify the ending (...ar) thus:
|Yo Elevo||I elevate|
|Tú Elevas||You elevate|
|Él eleva||He elevates|
|Ella eleva||She elevates|
|Nosotros elevamos||We elevate|
|Ellos elevan||They elevate [m]|
|Ellas elevan||They elevan [f]|
Spanish is a POLITE Language
When referring to you, the familiar form in Spanish is tú. However, if,I don't know you very well, I will refer to you as usted.
This is called the polite form. (pronounced OOS-TETH, soft "th" sound as in They)
Usted can be abbreviated as Ud., always with a capital "U".
lf I am addressing a GROUP of people (the English plural is also you") Usted becomes ustedes.
The abbreviation for ustedes, is Uds., with a capital "U".
The abbreviated forms (of course) are used only in written Spanish.
To conjugate the verb elevar using usted it looks like this:
|Usted eleva||You elevate|
|Ustedes elevan||You elevate|
Usted is Neuter, which means it can be used for either Masculine or Feminine subjects.
Although it is a bit tiresome to remember all of this,it does have its advantages. Let's go back to the verb run and we'll learn a shortcut.
It's true that in English the conjugation is simple, but we must always attach the subject to the verb, as in I run, or We run.
In Spanish we modify the verb by changing its ending (Yo corro, Nosotros corremos).
By saying "corro", we imply that it is I who runs.
By saying "corremos", we imply that it is we who run.
Therefore, we can effectively eliminate the subject from the sentence by the treatment of the verb ending. We can state, simply:
|(Yo) corro||I run|
|(Tú) corres||You run|
|Él corre||He runs|
|Ella corre||She runs|
|(Usted) corre||You run|
|(Nosotros) corremos||We run|
|(Ellos) corren||They run|
|(Ellas) corren||They run|
Of course, if the subject is feminine (ladies, for example) and we want to get the point across that "they" refers specifically to a group of lady joggers, we would say "Ellas corren". We would attach the subject only if we wanted to specify the gender of the subject, male or female.
There are only three verb endings in Spanish:
|...ar||imitar [to imitate]|
|...er||comer [to eat]|
|...ir||sufrir [to suffer]|
To conjugate verbs ending in ...ar, as in the Spanish verb imitar [to imitate], we substitute the ending with:
|(Yo) imito||I imitate|
|(Tú) imitas||You imitate|
|(Él) imita||He imitates|
|(Ella) imita||She imitates|
|(Usted) imita||You imitate|
|(Nosotros) imitamos||We imitate|
|(Ustedes) imitan||You imitate|
|(Ellos, Ellas) imitan||They imitate|
To conjugate verbs ending in ...er, as in the Spanish verb comer [to eat], we substitute the ending with:
|(Yo) como||I eat|
|(Tú) comes||You eat|
|(Él) come||He eats|
|(Ella) come||She eats|
|(Usted) come||You eat|
|(Nosotros) comemos||We eat|
|(Ustedes) comen||You eat|
|(Ellos, Ellas) comen||They eat|
To conjugate verbs ending with ...ir, as in the Spanish verb sufrir [to suffer], we substitute the ending with:
|(Yo) sufro||I suffer|
|(Tú) sufres||You suffer|
|(Él) sufre||He suffers|
|(Ella) sufre||She suffers|
|(Usted) sufre||You suffer|
|(Nosotros) sufrimos||We suffer|
|(Ustedes) sufren||You suffer|
|(Ellos, Ellas) sufren||They suffer|
That pretty well covers the PRESENT tense.
Most of the Spanish verbs that you have learned in the previous Chapters (Three & Four) end in...ar, so at this point you should be able to conjugate nearly two thousand different Spanish verbs, depending on your command of English. In the Appendix, you will find many verbs, with all three endings.
If you add a few thousand nouns, adjectives and adverbs, you can see that you are well on your way to expressing yourself in Spanish!
Don't forget that the subject (Yo, Tú, Él, etc.) does not need to be included, except in cases where you want to specify that the subject is masculine or feminine or you are using the polite form (Usted), in which case it is optional (when you want to specify that you are being polite).
Let's take a look now at the Past Tense
We will use the same verbs as we used in the Present Tense, "imitar" [to imitate], "comer" [to eat] and "sufrir" [to suffer] for a clearer illustration.
For verbs ending in ...ar we subsitute the ending with:
|(Yo) imité||I imitated|
|(Tú) imitaste||You imitated|
|(Él) imitó||He imitated|
|(Ella) imitó||She imitated|
|(Usted) imitó||You imitated|
|(Nosotros) imitamos||We imitated|
|(Ustedes) imitaron||You imitated|
|(Ellos, Ellas) imitaron||They imitated|
For verbs ending in ...er we substitute the ending with:
|(Yo) comí||I ate|
|(Tú) comiste||You ate|
|(Él) comió||He ate|
|(Ella) comió||She ate|
|(Usted) comió||You ate|
|(Nosotros) comimos||We ate|
|(Ustedes) comieron||You ate|
|(Ellos, Ellas) comieron||They ate|
For verbs ending in ...ir, we substitute the ending with:
|(Yo) sufrí||I suffered|
|(Tú) sufriste||You suffered|
|(Él) sufrió||He suffered|
|(Ella) sufrió||She suffered|
|(Usted) sufrió||You suffered|
|(Nosotros) sufrimos||We suffered|
|(Ustedes) sufrieron||You suffered|
|(Ellos, Ellas) sufrieron||They suffered|
Finally, with the same verbs, let's look at the Future Tense
For verbs ending in ...ar, we add the following to the ending:
|(Yo) imitaré||I will imitate|
|(Tú) imitarás||You will imitate|
|(Él) imitará||He will imitate|
|(Ella) imitará||She will imitate|
|(Usted) imitará||You will imitate|
|(Nosotros) imitaremos||We will imitate|
|(Ustedes) imitarán||You will imitate|
|(Ellos, Ellas) imitarán||They will imitate|
For verbs ending in ...er, we add the followingto the ending:
|(Yo) comeré||I will eat|
|(Tú) comerás||You will eat|
|(Él) comerá||He will eat|
|(Ella) comerá||She will eat|
|(Usted) comerá||You will eat|
|(Nosotros) comeremos||We will eat|
|(Ustedes) comerán||You will eat|
|(Ellos, Ellas) comerán||They will eat|
For verbs ending in ...ir, we add the following to the ending:
|(Yo) sufriré||I will suffer|
|(Tú) sufrirás||You will suffer|
|(Él) sufrirá||He will suffer|
|(Ella) sufrirá||She will suffer|
|(Usted) sufrirá||You will suffer|
|(Nosotros) sufriremos||We will suffer|
|(Ustedes) sufrirán||You will suffer|
|(Ellos, Ellas) sufrirán||They will suffer|
Once again, remember that by saying sufriré, we are implying that it is I who will suffer. We need not attach the subject [yo] to get the meaning across. This, naturally, is true for all the verb tenses!
There are other tenses, of course, such as past-perfect, future-perft etc., that you will want to include in further studies. For the purpose of this web, however, we've covered the ground!